South Carolina state seal

South CarolinaSales Tax

A Complete Guide For Businesses

State Rate
6.00%

Local Tax
yes

Phone
(803) 898-5000

General requirements

South Carolina is a destination-based state (sales are taxed where the buyer is located).

  • Sales tax is charged on the gross receipts of the retail sale or lease of tangible personal property (TPP)
  • For manufacturers, purchases used for production aren’t taxed
  • For distributors, items purchased for resale aren’t taxed
  • The sales and use tax also applies to communications like local telephone services, cable television services, satellite programming services, faxing services and paging services, as well as laundry and dry-cleaning services, accommodations, and electricity

Businesses may file in the following ways:

  • File online using MyDORWAY
  • To file by paper, download, print and mail return to the address listed on the form

Forms include ST-3 (State Return) and ST-389 (Schedule for Local Taxes). Businesses who have paid $15,000 or more during any one filing period during the past year are required to file electronically.

Rates

The statewide sales tax rate is 6%. Counties may impose an additional 1% local sales tax if voters in that county approve the tax, as well as other add-on local taxes (such as tourism development, transportation, and education taxes). Total tax rates range from 6% to 9% as a result. Local rates by county can be found here.

The rental of transient accommodations is subject to a 2% accommodations tax in addition to the sales tax rate.

A maximum tax of $500 applies to the sale of certain vehicles and trailers.

How food is taxed

The 6% general sales tax plus local taxes applies to prepared food sold for consumption on premises.

The following sales of food for human consumption are exempt from the state tax:

  • Unprepared foods that may lawfully be purchased with USDA food coupons

Nexus in South Carolina

A business is considered to have established a tax presence in the state if, among many other things, it:

  • Maintains a business location in South Carolina, including any kind of office
  • Maintains inventory or a distribution facility in South Carolina
  • Delivers merchandise to customers in South Carolina in returnable containers
  • Employs representatives or independent contractors who provide sales of TPP, training, installations, or customer service to customers in South Carolina
  • Sells gift cards or holds seminars in the state
  • Uses a company in South Carolina to drop-ship merchandise to customers
  • Engages in in-state delivery of merchandise using company-owned vehicles

Find more information about nexus in South Carolina.

Filing schedule

Sales and Use Tax accounts are set up with a monthly filing frequency. Quarterly and annual filing frequencies must be approved by the SCDOR. The request must be submitted in writing.

Monthly returns are due on or before the 20th of the month following the end of the month.

Quarterly returns are due on the 20th of the month following the end of the quarter (April 20, July 20, October 20, January 20).

If you file your return and pay in full on time, you’ll receive a 3% discount for taxes under $100 and a 2% discount for taxes over $100. The maximum discount allowed is $3,100.

Registering to collect sales tax in South Carolina

Apply for the retail license online using MyDORWAY or by mail with the SCDOR-111, Business Tax Registration Form. The fee for each permanent retail license is $50.

Penalties

If you file late, the South Carolina Department of Revenue states on its website that you will be charged penalties and interest. It doesn't specify the percentage amount charged, but it does provide a penalty and interest calculator.